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DuPage sheriff partners up in name of school safety

By Dan Campana

Amid heightened tensions around schools in the last month, the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office showed this week how community partnerships can work to help quell problems before they happen.

In conjunction with Glenbard South High School’s annual lockdown drill, K-9s from the sheriff’s office and the U.S. Marshals Service conducted a sweep of lockers and classrooms to uncover any drugs or weapons inside the Glen Ellyn school on Tuesday.

The exercise, done at the school’s request, lasted about 20 minutes and did not disrupt classes or students, officials said. No illegal or illicit items were found during the sweep done by two DuPage K-9s and one from the marshal’s service.

“Glenbard South is thankful for our partnership with the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office. It’s important we conduct these drills to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Principal Sandra Coughlin said.

Added Undersheriff Frank Bibbiano, “The sheriff’s office is always happy to work with local schools in an effort to help keep our children safe and drug free, as well as promoting a healthy learning environment.”

A slew of empty threats at Chicago-area schools in the wake of a February shooting at a Florida high school prompted a joint statement by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and Illinois State’s Attorneys Association to emphasize the serious implications for those who make statements about causing harm to students or damage to education facilities.

“The havoc and fear created when someone threatens a school community is real, no matter the intentions of the person who communicates that threat,” the statement reads. “All threats are taken seriously and investigating them diverts precious resources.

“The law enforcement community stands united in making our schools safe,” according to the statement issued by ILACP President and Oak Brook Police Chief James Kruger, ISA President and Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders, and ISAA President John Milhiser.